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Markku Envall

Markku Sakari Envall
Born July 28, 1944, Hämeenlinna.

Bachelor of Arts (Comparative Literature), 1968, Master of Arts, 1971, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1976, Doctor of Philosophy, 1987, University of Helsinki

Acting Assistant (Comparative Literature), University of Helsinki, 1970–1978

Assistant, Finnish Literature, University of Helsinki, 1982–1992

Senior Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, 1991–1994

Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church Award for Literature, 1987

Finlandia Prize for Fiction, for Samurai nukkuu (‘The Samurai is sleeping’, WSOY 1989), 1990
Annual award for an aphorism collection ( Ja Job antaa anteeksi (‘And Job forgives’, WSOY 2005), 2006

Samuli Paronen prize, 2009

Merit prize, WSOY publishers, 2009

Olga and Vilho Linnamo prize, 2010

Nominee, J. L. Runeberg prize for literature, 2012 ( essay collection Toinen jalka maassa, ‘One foot on the ground’, 2012)

Photo: Pertti Nisonen
Written by Markku Envall and Tero Juutilainen (ed.)
Translated by John Calton

My best memory from the University of Helsinki

My best memory has to be that of my teachers. I would like to mention the Assistant of Theoretical Philosophy, Seppo Kivinen (later known as S. Albert Kivinen. He made an impression through his lively, learned and discursive approach. He was better than the other teachers at creating the impression that he was actively thinking during the lecture instead of just offering the students something ‘precooked’. Whenever any theory or ideology was introduced, he started analysing its contents and the truth value of the different interpretations that one could attribute to them. He was a living philosopher, who practised the art and skill of thinking in front of the class. He was the first teacher I saw giving a presentation without notes. He did not set himself up as an authority figure but appealed to the sense of his audience and to shared rational inquiry among equals.


Translated by Olli Silvennoinen

Revised by John Calton

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